Amid slowing funding for African fintech startups, stakeholders in the ecosystem are strategizing on how to sustain the growth recorded on the continent in recent years.
This has been the crux of discussions at the ongoing 5th Africa Fintech Forum in the Ivorian capital city of Abidjan.
The first day of the 2-day forum, which opened on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, focused on what is next for fintech in Africa. According to speakers, the continent’s fintech must now work together to achieve a common goal of improving payment across Africa. They said the collaboration will also help them sustain the current growth even as external funding slows.
Unequal growth: Specifically, a keynote speaker at the event, CEO of HPS Business Gary Ceaplen, noted that while fintech’s past lies in the U.S., and its present remains squarely in Asia, Africa must position itself for what is to come to take advantage of the next fintech revolution. He, however, noted that growth in financial services across Africa’s 54 will not be uniform. He said:
“While the lion’s share of value in the market (approximately 40% of revenues) is currently concentrated in South Africa, which has the most mature banking system on the continent, Ghana and Francophone West Africa are expected to show the fastest growth at 15% and 13% per annum, respectively until 2025.
“Nigeria and Egypt follow each other with an expected growth rate of 12% per annum over the same period. Overall, we anticipate that the growth opportunity in Fintech is likely to be concentrated in 11 key countries key markets Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, which together accounted for 70% of Africa’s GDP and half of its population.”
Advocacy for growth: Also speaking at the forum, the President of Africa Fintech Network, Dr Segun Aina, said the Network has been striving to unite fintech across Africa while engaging central banks across the country on the issue of regulation. He said:
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“Our mandate in Africa Fintech Network is to be the platform that unites African fintech and serves as the voice of African fintech in the world. We are advocating for everything fintech in Africa to address the challenges that fintech is facing, number one of which is regulatory issues. And to address this, we are partnering with the African central banks to ensure that we have one mind so that regulations by the central banks, which are the primary regulators for fintech, will be done in a way that will not stifle innovation, but promotes innovation.”
On the question of what is next for African fintech, Aina said the answer to the question, which is being provided at the forum, will show the next opportunity areas for fintech in the continent.
“What’s next for African fintech is a very big question because funds are drying up today for African Fintechs. Fintechs in Africa in the last 3 to 4 years had witnessed an influx of funds, but this year has seen some slowing down. Today, we are witnessing a lot of layoffs even in fintech. So, what is next for African fintech, where is the next opportunity for them? We expect the answers to be provided at this forum,” he said.
The forum: The Africa Fintech Forum has become a voice of authority in particularly French-speaking Africa. This year, there are over 500 participants from across Africa, including fintech associations from Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa, among others.
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According to the founder and convener of the forum, Mr Alex Sea, the Africa Fintech Forum has become a catalyst platform, an insightful and inclusive hub that addresses challenges, opportunities, and actions to develop the African fintech industry.